The Importance of Scrapbooking & Memory Keeping

My Uncle Bud McKenna

I have been thinking a great deal lately about the importance of memory keeping and scrapbooking, mostly because I have gotten behind on my projects in this area and am feeling a calling to create some more scrapbooks.

A couple of days ago my mom celebrated her 76th birthday. Other than suffering from migraines for most of her life, she has never been seriously ill, had any surgery, or been admitted to a hospital. It is easy to imagine her living past a hundred at this rate, so I never really think much about what it would be like if she were not here. My dad on the other hand, has been suffering with Parkinson’s for about 5 years and has become extremely weak in the past year. He is going in for knee replacement surgery in a few weeks and we are quite concerned about whether or not he will be strong enough to recover properly.

Meanwhile, my parents are having their house renovated and their lives are in upheaval with most of the contents of their home having to be boxed up through the process. Because of all of this, my mom has decided it is time to downsize and she has been giving away a bunch of things so she doesn’t have to unpack it all again. Last week she delivered a huge box of sentimental things, including most of the jewelry and other gifts my dad has given her through out the years and some of the things she had given to him. She has also started dividing and sharing her massive stack of family photographs that she has accumulated over the years. My mom has always loved her photos and my brother and I may each have to build a dedicated room in our homes to store all of this stuff.

I definitely have picked up my love of memory keeping from my mother. She has an excellent memory for details, never forgets a birthday or anniversary of every friend or relative no matter how distant. Plus, my mom is our family social network hub. I have always said that before the internet, there was my mom. She keeps in regular touch with pretty much anyone she has ever been friends with and there isn’t a month that goes by that she hasn’t made a point of calling every one of her family members including cousins and second cousins, just to check in and make sure everyone is still alive and healthy. Then she usually calls me and fills me in on it all, whether I am interested at the time or not! 😉

It is easy to take for granted that my mom will be with me forever. No one wants to imagine what life would look like without our parents in it. Sadly though, 4 or 5 of our Studio Girls have suffered the loss of a parent in the last year. That, along side my mom giving away all of her cherished treasures, has me considering this potential in a very real way lately. Besides losing my mom and all that she means to mean to me personally, I would be losing so many memories and stories that would die with her, and that is something that cannot be taken for granted. As a scrapbooker and memory keeper, I cannot let that happen. I feel as though it is my responsibility to make sure these stories are passed down through out the generations so that my children’s children can know who and where they have come from.

This is my great uncle Bud. I remember him as the type of man to dominate a room with his presence. He had a huge personality, a deep booming voice and a very loving heart. He started drinking when he was 9 and didn’t stop until he was 60. Then, he became a huge deal in Alcoholics Anonymous and traveled across North America giving speeches on behalf of A.A. He was a real mama’s boy and he cherished my great grandmother and after her death he would weep tears for her anytime she was mentioned. As a child, I was mesmerized by his open display of emotion where she was concerned. I never really knew how to take him though and I was both intrigued and a little afraid of him.

Uncle Bud McKennaMom gave this photo to me recently explaining that this was Bud’s head-shot for when he was auditioning to be in the Our Gang series with Spanky, Alfalfa, Darla and Buckwheat. Apparently he got really close to being cast but didn’t make the final cut. What a great story! Who knew??? My mom, that’s who! Without her, this photo would have no meaning to me whatsoever and would not be unlike the countless, nameless, vintage photographs that I have in my collection of other people’s ancestors.

My mother is a living scrapbook of stories! We all are! Creating our scrapbooks can be fun, relaxing, and enjoyable hobby that allows us some peaceful and pleasurable “me time”. However, let us not forget the most important reason of all. We need to share our stories, before they are gone forever. How have you been doing in this regard? I know that I have been slipping a bit in my responsibility as family record keeper, but I think I will be spending a lot more time with my folks while my dad is recovering and I plan to ask them questions. As a parent myself, I know I haven’t shared even a fraction of my stories with my kids, because well…they just aren’t all that interested, yet, and I think that is fairly normal. They have their own lives to live and memories to make. However, I am fairly sure that one day they will wonder and want to know, and if I am not here to share, or can’t remember these things myself anymore, then at least they will have my scrapbooks.

I don’t have a lot of time for scrapbooking these days but who needs it when there are fabulous quick pages available like the one I have used for my layout above, created by the extremely talented Studio Manu. It took me 5 minutes to document this story thanks to Manu!   This quick page came from her Contentment Collection.  Isn’t it fabulous? Her vintage style is perfect for all of my old photos. Plus, no one has to know (besides you and me) that I didn’t create every little bit of it all by myself. 😉

If you are blessed to have your parents still with you (or any of your older relatives for that matter), then maybe give them a call and ask them to share a story that you may never had heard before. Enjoy that while you can!

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